Sudan reverses threat to stop South Sudan oil flow

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — After meeting with his southern counterpart, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Tuesday South Sudan’s oil will continue to flow through his country’s pipelines.

The announcement eases concerns after al-Bashir had ordered the pipelines closed earlier this year and accused South Sudan of supporting rebel movements in his country. The decision, though, had been delayed and was never implemented.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s visit to Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum appeared aimed at reversing the order to close the pipelines, which would have choked South Sudan’s ability to export its oil. Kiir was given a red carpet reception upon arrival to Khartoum for the one-day visit.

In comments carried by the official Sudan News Agency, al-Bashir said the two presidents agreed to “remove all obstacles” in relations and fully implement cooperation agreements, including the flow of South Sudan’s oil for export through Sudanese pipelines.

In a joint statement after their meeting, the two presidents said discussions went well.

“The discussions were carried out in a positive environment with frankness and a strong political will, which enabled the two sides to reach understandings, paving the way for the implementation of all cooperation agreements signed by the two countries,” the statement said.

South Sudan became independent of Sudan in 2011 after a lengthy civil war, and took with it much of Sudan’s oil reserves.

The two sides are still in dispute over a number of issues, including rights to the oil-rich Abyei region, which they vowed to address through continuous dialogue according to the joint statement. Sudanese troops have been ambushed and killed there by rebels and the area remains volatile. A U.N. mission there helps mark the border and monitors a demilitarized zone.

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